Github is the popular website among software developers for sharing code. The site hosts over 12 million open-source projects — including games, books and even fonts — making Github the largest code repository on the Internet.
Github offers another useful service called Gist that developers often use to dump their code snippets but Gists aren’t just for geeks and coders — they offer something for everybody. If you have ever heard of web apps like Pastebin or Pastie, Gist are similar but more polished, they are free of advertising and loaded with more features.
Gist – They aren’t just for Geeks!
Here are some areas where you can utilize the Gist service. And you don’t have to be a geek for this.
1. Write Text Anonymously
You don’t have to create an account at Github to use Gists. Just go to gist.github.com, write any block of text in the space provided and create a Gist. You can choose to have a secret Gist that will not be visible to search engines but only to those who know the URL of that secret Gist.
2. Track Changes like a Wiki
When you edit the content of a Gist that has already been published, the previous versions of the Gist are also preserved. You can hit the Revisions tab to track edits made over time and there’s a built-in diff engine that will visually highlight the changes between any two versions of a gist. This can also be used for comparing text files.
3. Publish Gists in Rich Text
While gists only accept plain text, you can use the Markdown format to publish your text in rich HTML format. You can add lists, images (hosted externally) and even Tables that are not supported in the original Markdown specification. When you are done writing the text in Markdown, remember to save the file with a .md extension.
4. Gist as a Writing Platform
While there exist plenty of writing engines — from Blogger to Medium to Tumblr — you can also Github’s Gist service to quickly publish your writings on the web. Create a Gist either in plain text or markdown format and then use roughdraft.io to publish that Gist as a standalone web page. It’s like integrating Readability with your Gists. And you can use emoji (smileys) too!
5. Host Single Page Websites on Gist
There are bandwidth constraints obviously but bl.ock.org is still an excellent tool for hosting your HTML through Gists. The other alternative is Google Drive.
6. Maintain a Task List
- [x] Pick the flowers - [ ] Call John 9303032332 - [x] Cancel cable subscription - [ ] Book the flight tickets
You can check or uncheck the items and the source text will update automatically. If your Gist is public, anyone can see your to-do lists but only the gist owner can change the status of individual tasks.
7. Gist as a Web Clipper
The GistBox add-on for Google Chrome lets you save text snippets from web pages as public or private gists. You can even add labels, or #hashtags, to your gists making discovery easier.
8. Embed Gists in Web Pages
9. Measure the Traffic
Add this line to your Gists, save in Markdown format and it will add a transparent tracking image to your Gists.
10. Manage Gists from the Desktop
Gisto is free desktop application that lets you manage your Gists outside the browser. You can search Gists, edit the content of gists, view revisions over time and also share Gists. The app is available for Mac OSX, Windows and Linux. The other alternative is GistBox which is a web app.